Last week this Orlando Belly dancer was on Facebook ,rummaging around, when my curiosity was sparked by a Youtube clip called “I Want to Hire a Belly Dancer”. I viewed it and oh my…kudos to the individuals that made it because it perfectly showcases the epitome of the ignorance that we dancers sometimes come across. Due to this, I thought this blog on What Not To Say When Hiring A Belly dancer was the perfect way to help!
I know that not everyone is a belly dance expert out there, and that is fine, but that by no means allows it to be right for individuals to act as if it is alright to ask us some very unacceptable things!
*Please note this is not directed to my fans, past clients, or friends…this is just a rant about some of the ignorant callers I have had in the past (I turned down performing at their gigs) and a hilarious video I came across that I think we belly dance lovers will enjoy!*
American sex sells mentality, orientalist fantasies based on a dog of a man’s account centuries ago, and the “cabaret shows” of the olden days definitely made a lasting and partially negative impression of the view of belly dancers and it has been difficult to shake the stereotype to say the least. NO… professional do not gyrate on the floor! NO… we do not jiggle our posteriors in men’s faces! No…I will not dance for free or for some cheap amount at your private event! No… I will not try and pick up your husband when you turn your back. No…I do not take off my clothes!
It is so frustrating when I get calls from strangers asking me to perform at an event where they will also have strippers, or where they want me to meet them at some hotel room (EEEEWWW but I seriously have had calls like this). Come on Now!
With the advent of Youtube, belly dance websites, huge belly dance forums, belly dance superstars, even Wikipedia for goodness sakes …there is no reason that if you wanted to at least acquire the true facts about professional belly dancers that you would not be able to.
My colleagues and I are working hard to change public perceptions (one person at a time). The stereotypes are getting real old, and there is a lot of really GOOD things happening by PROFESSIONAL belly dancers that should erase any feelings otherwise.
What you see in the Halloween store labeled as “belly dance costume” is typically no where near what we actually wear. We are not genies, professionals do not wear see-through scantily clad things, and we do not want to hear whistles, hoots. or howls from men. The media has projected the backwards stereotypes over and over and it is so annoying to watch, “let it go already”!
Yes…your children can dance with me. Yes, I only perform at family functions and corporate events. Yes…I have taken extensive training in this art form. Yes….I am in a relationship (but even if I wasn’t it still would not affect anything). Yes….I do this as a profession and it has been the best thing I ever did. Yes…I am smart (in fact I am working on two degrees) so do not speak to me as if I do not know anything and expect me to not give you a wake up call.
Ignorance happens, we have all been ignorant at one time or another. This is why we educate ourselves on the topic, and move on. The questions we dancers sometimes get though are preposterous! You would not ask your lawyer or accountant these sorts of questions so do not do it with us! If you have a question try to look it up, call a dancer (but ask her in an appropriate manner please), or watch a historical documentary.
Stop asking me to dance for your party and “flirt” with the birthday man or woman when I dance with them! I am sick of this request. I will always stop you, give you an educational moment, and then tell you I am not the type of dancer for your event, and wish you good luck. It is offensive to belly dancers, stop offending us with these ridiculous requests!
Ok rant over, hope this wakes some web surfers out there up and teaches them What Not To Say When Hiring A Belly dancer!